“Mom, can I go to real school?” I remember my eight year old asking me that question like it was yesterday. I feared that our homeschooling journey might end that day. How can I motivate learning? But God was faithful, and my son graduated happily from our homeschool ten years later.
During our twenty-one years of home education, I could sometimes trace my children’s dissatisfaction or boredom to my own attitudes. At times I needed a new vision, a change in focus, or a little more creativity. Other times, I needed to alter a child’s course by discerning his/her needs and strengths in order to motivate learning.
The following ideas worked for me, and they can bring energy, motivation, and life into your home year after year. The first part of this series deals with seeking the Lord and expanding your vision. It is so easy to cut corners here because we feel like we need to do something. Let me encourage you first to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus, then your activity will be much more productive.
Motivate learning by setting aside a half-day or full-day at the beginning of each school year, or when you hit a brick wall with one of your children, to spend with the Lord. Ask the Lord to give you a fresh vision and inspiration to motivate learning in your homeschool. Remember that God can multiply your time and resources when you put Him first and seek Him. Here are seven ideas to gain fresh vision and focus in your homeschool:
- Boldly claim God’s promise! “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, AMP). I love this—“fenced in and hidden!” God reveals information, knowledge, solutions, and blessings to us as we pray and seek Him.
- Take a while to write down the questions you have, the problems your children are experiencing, and the needs you have. Be specific. If Johnny needs help with math, write it down. If your eight-year-old is struggling with reading, write it down. If your teenager has a bad attitude toward you or life in general, write it down.
- Read Isaiah 28:23-39. These amazing verses reveal that God teaches a farmer to farm in very specific ways. He teaches him when to plow and when to stop plowing, when to sow and when to scatter, and where to plant wheat and where to plant barley. In these verses we learn that “God teaches him order; He instructs him” (verse 26, HCSB) and “God gives wonderful advice; He gives great wisdom” (verse 29, HCSB). God advises the farmer in the area of his need—in the practical parts of his job responsibilities. If God is willing and able to teach a farmer to farm, surely He is willing and able to enter the trenches with us and teach us how to homeschool!
- Commit your requests to the Lord and pray boldly for answers. Read Philippians 4:6-7, Hebrews 4:14-16, and Psalm 37:3-5.
- As the Lord answers your prayers during the coming weeks and months, make sure you write them down.
- Write out specific verses that the Lord encourages you with as you spend time seeking Him.
- If you need a fresh vision statement, consider this one from the Harvard Rules and Precepts of 1636:
“Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”